Perhaps intended to be glued in place? This one was perhaps
never installed? (Or, perhaps some finishing nails could be hidden in
the cups of the acorn caps.)
Maybe to go on the outside of a coffin to allow a live burial to
breathe for a while and perhaps be rescued?
I was thinking it might be a cover for an inkwell that was sunk into a desk,
that would explain why there are no mounting holes. It appears to have some
wear on the raised surfaces, and possibly some ink stains on the brass
surface but it's hard to tell exactly what the marks seen in this photo are
It would not stay centered over the inkwell without mounting
holes, unless it were at least glued in place -- perhaps with provisions
for removing and replacing the inkwells from below.
I do remember there were still inkwells in some of the desks at
school in South Texas prior to the 1960s at least. They were no longer
in use, and I at first wondered about them as a kid. Some of the desks
just had the holes for the inkwells, without the inkwells still being
Mostly from a right hand opening it many times -- and a few from
the left hand as well.
They could indeed be ink. Was there anything on the underside
of the hinged part? The angle of view doesn't give much chance of
And where did you find this one? At a guess, in an antique
store, not in a museum, where it would have been properly labeled.
Someone sent me the photos, looking to find out what it is, they found it a
box along with a few unfinished furniture legs that someone had given them.
I don't know if there was anything on the underside of the hinged part.
Oops, I got that backwards, this would have to be the "tone/scale"
differentiating part. Small one and large one for different
octaves--clip tines to appropriate length to get the tones in the scale
required. Admittedly, this is just a guess (looks familiar though!).
For this application, the ends would have to be in line to line
up with the plucker pins on the cylinder which carries the tune. This
means that the slots would have to be of varying length to produce the
varying pitch tines.
2228: maybe a port for a speaking tube? Open, the servants can hear
you, closed they cannot.
2229: a vacuum cup drill; it clamps onto a surface (?glass,
polished rock) and drills a hole in it.
2230: maybe a fabric-arts gizmo, to hold strands of some kind
of braidwork project?\
2232: looks like a kind of carpet (canvas?) stretcher.
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